sweetoven

Sunday, July 03, 2005

My Weekend of Indulgence




Image taken from www.saintpierre.com.sg

Continuing on my mission to treat myself well this weekend, Saturday night was spent out on a 'date' with my boyfriend at SaintPierre.
If you visit their site, the home page introduces the chef and owner of Saint Pierre who has become quite a celebrity in the culinary circles in Singapore:

'EMMANUEL Stroobant is the kind of chef whose energy you wish you could siphon into little bottles and sell at some holistic flea market. Even reading his menu takes your breath away - if you think this is an exaggeration, try saying "low temperature roasted canon of lamb scented with purple garlic and summer herbs, pimientos del piquillo, edame beans, lemon confit and roasted pine nuts" in one breath.'

The Chef

We walked into the reception area of the restaurant and were greeted by Emmanuel himself. If you have been watching the cooking shows of today, you'd know that the stereotype image of the overweight and jolly chef doesn't quite prevail today. And if you ever entertained such stereotypes to begin with, Emmanuel would be the first to dispel these illusions.

Here's a chef that looks more like a rock star / Hollywood actor than someone who spends most of his time in a kitchen. Think Billy Idol without the snarl and leather- all blond and spiky hair and piercing blue eyes. He'd met my boyfriend before on several ocassions and warmly invited us to our table, asking us if we needed any guidance with the menu, highlighting that the restaurant's signature dish was their Foie Gras Classique. He also mentioned that their special for the night was the Wagyu beef cooked with slices of pan fried foie gras. His eyes lit up as he described it, adding with a slight wince 'But it is very fatty. It's not lean meat'. At this point I broke into a huge smile. 'I'm not on a diet,' I said. And couldn't have meant it more!

Wagyu Beef

Let me tell you a bit about Wagyu Beef. Known as the 'caviar of beef', wagyu beef has been described as follows:

"Wagyu meat is striking because of its wonderful marbling which results in a never-before-experienced succulence that sends the taste buds reeling. The fat in the meat has more monounsaturated fats and melts at room temperature which makes Wagyu beef suitable as part of a lower-cholesterol diet.
The high degree of marbling adds an extraordinary depth of flavour which makes Wagyu beef a culinary delicacy."


I had recently had a conversation with a friend that had grown up in Japan,talking about the wonders and beauty of Kobe beef and Wagyu beef. We talked about the cattle being massaged and fed with beer, which resulted in their tender flesh. What i didn't know was whether Kobe Beef and Wagyu beef were the same thing? I know both were horrendously expensive, but what was the difference? (if there was any?)

Here's what I found on the net:

All Kobe beef is Wagyu, but not all Wagyu beef is Kobe beef.

All Wagyu beef is not created equal … if you’re looking for is best-quality Wagyu, you should expect to pay $100 or more per pound. Wagyu for $30.00 per pound? It’s just not the same.
You may already be familiar with the famed Japanese Kobe beef — the most expensive beef in the world. Wagyu is the same breed stock that yields Kobe beef. However, to earn the appellation of Kobe beef, the cattle must be raised in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture and its production must conform to standards imposed within that region.

Because of the scarcity and expense of open land and the high price of grain in Japan, Wagyu cattle have been raised successfully in Australia and the U.S. to meet the growing demand for this pricey delicacy.



Our Meal
I gave in to ordering the Wagyu. I figured that if I was going to indulgence in a fine restaurant, I might as well try Wagyu beef for the first time! I did not even ask what the price was - it was not featured on the menu, and this was not the kind of restaurant that had a chalk board mounted on the wall with the day's specials. I dived in and figured I'd make the money back later anyhow!
My boyfriend ordered the Cassoulet, a typical pork filled French meal I had read about before but had never tried.

I LOVED my Wagyu beef, served with pan friend foie gras. Thin Slices of almost rare marbled beef, paired with succulent foie gras that melted in my mouth. It did not disappoint and it was heavenly. The kind of meal you ate in small bites, closing your eyes in a beef filled rapture.

The cassoulet however, was not my cup of tea at all. To me, it tasted like barbequed pork you get at hawker centres with Char siew - except this was dry and came in huge porky salty chunks, paired with cassoulet beans (not a favourite of mine either),

I had not brought my camera with me, and teased my boyfriend about whether he would be embarassed if I started snapping away at my plate of food like an over zealous culinary tourist!

The Walnut Raisin Bread
Good bread is always a perk of fancy restaurants. The walnut raisin bread served here was one of the most delicious breads I've ever had. The waitress did not stop coming back to offer more slices of warm bread until I had to plead with her to stop!
The butter that was served was also the best butter I've ever tried. Apparently semi salted French butter available at places like Culina.

It was probably because of the bread that neither my boyfriend nor I could fit in dessert. I had a quick flick through the dessert menu and had not found anything I really wanted to try anyway. Crepe Suzette is not a favourite of mine.

Overall verdict, a good restaurant that takes pride in their food. The staff were friendly, but I have to admit not totally knowledgeable. For their signature dishes (foie gras) one cannot fault them and the special - was divine.
And I have made it a not too distant mission to master a walnut raisin loaf like the one served there. With good conversation thrown in revolving around subjects like being a 'citizen of the world' and 'Americanism' - it was a lovely dinner date.
Oh yes, and extremely expensive!

10 Comments:

  • Thank you, Chin Ru for the great delectable dinner last night. I thoroughly enjoyed the food, the wine and the company.

    From your fan&friend,
    S.O

    By Blogger Susan Olij, at 12:01 AM  

  • You are most welcome! Always a pleasure to cook and eat with people I like.

    Catch up soon.

    Chin Ru

    By Blogger Chin Ru, at 6:48 PM  

  • yes, wagyu beef is to die for. and what a lovely treat at St Pierre, hope my boyfriend will tk me there one day (hint!)

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:03 AM  

  • nice blog. i just want to add that the Kobe beef that most people get in the US is not the Kobe beef that people get in Japan. In fact most US Kobe beef is Wagyu cattle cross bred with American Angus. Unfortunately there are no standards so we as consumers have to be careful. My girlfriend's father grows Wagyu here in Australia and they recently served it at the oscars. http://www.blackmorewagyu.com.au

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